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Queens, Brooklyn settle rivalry in Astoria Park water battle

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Photo gallery

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Organizer Rob Forrester (c.) throws balloons as many come in his direction. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Brooklyn residents Hayley Swinburne (l.) and Ariel Gonzalez retreat. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Astoria resident Stephanie St. Hilaire (r.) avoids a splash. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Water balloons are collected in a bucket. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Peter Chan of Astoria is drenched. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Participants, including Ricky Mungaray (front) of Astoria, toss their balloons. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Astoria resident Erica Lee faces off with neighbor Peter Chan. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Organizer Rob Forrester (c.) celebrates the conclusion with a bucket on his head. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Brooklyn team prepare for battle. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Brooklyn team members run onto the battlefield. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Astoria supporter Callie Sooker takes aim. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Brooklyn team prepare for battle. Photo by Christina Santucci

They came to battle and exchange good-natured hipster jokes.

To celebrate his birthday, Astorian Rob Forrester arranged a battle of the boroughs in Astoria Park Saturday. In a Facebook event post titled “Epic Water Balloon & Water Gun Fight (Queens vs. Brooklyn),” Forrester invited Queensites and Brooklynites to settle their rivalry in a friendly, H2O-filled competition.

“I wanted to bring the two boroughs together,” Forrester said.

Forrester, 29, has lived in Astoria for five years and works as a TV producer. He said he wanted to spend his birthday Saturday outside a bar, and the rivalry between Queens and Brooklyn, two boroughs that are right next to each other but whose residents often do not connect, provided the inspiration.

Participants brought air-pressurized water guns and many water balloons to Astoria Park near Ditmars Boulevard for the fight. Forrester asked the players to wear blue and white clothing if they were representing Queens and blue and gold clothing if they were representing Brooklyn in keeping with the counties’ flags.

Queens had more representation than Kings County at the match, with some Queensites defecting to help out their brothers and sisters across the Pulaski Bridge. About 30 people ended up fighting for Queens, while the 12 fighting for Brooklyn endured some hipster-flavored trash talk before the match.

“Hey, what’s it like not wearing tight pants for once?” asked a member of Team Queens.

The barb was later followed up with, “You guys should start first so you can say you were doing it before it was cool.”

Team Brooklyn responded with chants of, “B.K.! B.K.! B.K.!”

“I enjoyed the pre-game trash talk in-between the two sides,” said 29-year-old Justin Rothblatt, who lives in Long Island now but is planning a move to Woodside. “Brooklynites are easy targets.”

Trong Nguyen, 40, of Brooklyn, said before the match he was not worried despite the stacked numbers.

“I’m a good runner,” he said. “Pretty good arm.”

At the sound of an air horn, the battle began. While it was over in about five minutes, Queensites and Brooklynites alike said they had fun throwing water balloons, squirting each other and, when the ammunition had almost run out, taking the water that remained in the large buckets that held the balloons and dumping them over each other’s heads.

“I had a great time,” said Jeremy Rosen, a 33-year-old Astoria resident. “It’s refreshing. It’s a great use of the field.”

Dan McNamara, a 27-year-old Jersey City resident who fought for Brooklyn, said despite the imbalanced numbers the teams were evenly matched because Brooklyn strategized well.

“But they should be thankful for their allies, Jersey City,” McNamara said.

After the fight was over, the participants shook hands, picked up the burst balloons and went to the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden in Astoria.

“It’s nice coming together,” said 28-year-old Astoria resident Leandra Aguirre. “I had fun. I’m nice and wet now.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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